Kookaburras back on track, beat Britain 2-1 in field hockey

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Australia is back on track in Olympic field hockey.

Coming off consecutive Olympic losses for the first time since 1988, the Australians scored two late goals and hung on to beat Britain 2-1 Wednesday.

Moments after Ashley Jackson's penalty corner score for Britain with three minutes to go, Australia defender Matthew Swann swatted away a ground shot in the goalmouth.

Australia moved to third in Pool A, behind unbeaten leaders Belgium and Spain, who meet on Thursday.

New Zealand leapfrogged Britain into the fourth and last quarterfinal spot after routing Brazil 9-0. New Zealand leads Britain on goal difference, and their final, tough, pool matches on Friday will decide their fate: The Black Sticks play Belgium, and the British face Spain.

In women's play, the Netherlands defeated China 1-0, breaking through in the 59th minute through Kitty van Male.

China didn't make a single shot on goal in the match, and kept the Dutch quiet until the third quarter, when the latter adapted its attack to the Chinese wall. A goal looked inevitable until time was almost up, when China goalkeeper Dongxiao Li missed a save and Van Male bounced the ball in.

''It was a tough match for us,'' Netherlands captain Maartje Paumen said. ''We controlled the game. We are always confident. We looked at each other in the eyes and said `The goal is coming, we will score.'''

The Netherlands stayed on top of Pool A, two points ahead of unbeaten Germany.

The Germans peppered South Korea, which didn't fold until the last quarter. The South Koreans were down to nine players for seven minutes after Kim Jongeun and Seo Jungeun received yellow cards, but Germany didn't score until Kim returned, thanks to Hannah Kruger's drag-flick. Three minutes later, Lisa Alterburg scored against a full complement for 2-0.

New Zealand stayed in touch with the leaders by defeating Spain 2-1. Spain started well but New Zealand's defense gradually improved, while the offense still struggled to finish chances. Kelsey Smith scored in the second and last quarters, while Spain replied in the last minute through Carlota Pertchame.

The United States rolled over Japan 6-1 and stayed on top of Pool B with Britain, which knocked over Argentina 3-2.

The Americans scored after only 22 seconds in a penalty corner hit by Melissa Gonzalez. Katie Bam completed a hat trick in the fourth quarter. The U.S. was last in London four years ago, but beginning to believe it could win a first medal since 1984.

''We are meshing. It's just our time,'' Bam said.

The British led 2-0 at halftime with a pair of goals from Helen Richardson-Walsh, and Sophie Bray added a third. Then Florencia Habif scored twice almost within a minute to cut the margin to one, but even though the British were briefly down to nine players on yellow cards, the Argentines couldn't capitalize.

Australia rose from last to third in the pool after its first win in three matches, overwhelming India 6-1. Jodie Kenny scored the Hockeyroos' last two goals to reach 101 in her career.

Back in the men's tournament, the British were unlucky with two penalty corners - one shot ricocheting off their own man's stick, and a second deflecting away off an Australian's foot.

The first goal, 11 minutes from the end, shifted momentum. Simon Orchard fed into the circle, and Aran Zalewski, back from a one-game suspension, passed back inside to Daniel Beale to score. Not long after, a shot dribbled out from under the British goalkeeper, Glenn Turner dived to straighten its path toward goal and just before it would have rolled in, Jacob Whetton whipped it in.

The British rallied too late.

Nick Wilson scored four times for New Zealand, which finally posted its first win in four matches at Brazil's expense.

Brazil has conceded 37 goals in four matches, scoring only once, and faces a revived Australia in its last pool match on Friday.

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